Thursday, April 17, 2008

Running on Empty

I know I have several friends and readers that are serious runners. For you all, I have a question...

Seeing as that I've got lots of free time lately, I've been running almost daily. While that doesn't seem like a big deal, it is. Here's why.

My legs. My big, massive hunks of Type IIB muscle are designed for nothing more than quick bursts of power and strength. Distance? Endurance? Forgetaboutit. Seriously. With this in mind, you can imagine that my runs aren't very long. I can handle maybe 4-5 miles TOPS before my legs are just spent. Some days, its less than that. Walk breaks are frequent and necessary to avoid cramping in my calves and hamstrings. The good thing about Type IIB muscle, though, is that I recover fairly quickly with minimal soreness.

Lately, though, my legs are sore almost constantly. It usually takes A LOT of effort on my part to get any kind of lasting soreness. Squatting massive quantities of weight, yeah, that'll do it. But what I've been doing lately is not even close to that and the soreness is just as bad. Am I just doing too much? Should I take a break to let my muscles recover? Would walking the same distance be a better idea, ya know, just to keep things moving?

Your thoughts?


Amisk8er said...

well, sounds like you answered your own question no? your muscle type probably is the reason your muscles are feeling the repercussions of lots of work they've not been trained for. Or maybe I'm crazy... but I would say that some rest is probably a good thing, every other day to lay off... or maybe just run a shorter route every other day...

Brian said...

As a former student of sports medicine, I'd say to modify the routine to place less stress on all the parts of the leg. You and I both know I had some fun times with shin splints. Does it feel like that? Could it be growing pains?

More importantly, what are the shoes that you're using and the surface you're running on? Those factors are key in determining what possibilities are worth considering.

There's a facet of our society today that would say to drug your way through it. Ask yourself how much you value your kidneys, because ibuprofen went a long way for me back in H.S. :D

The Enforcer said...

Brian, bless your soul for the comment about growing pains. You are too funny!

Unfortunately, I haven't grown in the vertical direction since high school, so I think I can safely rule those out.

And you're right. It *is* all about the shoes. Mine are old, with too many miles on them. I need new ones. Alas, I also need to pay rent and eat every now and then.

Perhaps drugs are the way to go after all.

I taught you well, young one...


Arvay said...

Oh noooo! Please, search the sale and discount places (sierra trading post comes to mind) and get yourself new running shoes! Running in old shoes is baaaaad. You think you're saving money, but that's nothing compared to the costs of fixing bad knees, ankles, etc, etc. C'mon, worst case scenario, it's a hundred dollars. What's the cost of a knee surgery?

Anonymous said...

After reading a bajillion books on running, here are the few things that it seems all of the "experts" agree on:

1. You should take 1 day off running, completely, every week for recovery.

2. You should never follow a hard day with another hard run. (Ideally, you will have medium, easy, and hard days of workout and you will do something like M,H,E,M,H,E,Rest but the exact frequency is the subject of much discussion, and the only thing they agree on is easy days or rest days should always follow hard days.) Hard days are fast pace medium runs, your longest run of the week (at slower paces), races, sprints, hill running, and hard interval training. Easy days can be pure walks, slower shorter jogs, etc. They should be very pleasant, just enough to get your moving and work through the residual soreness from the prior day's hard run.

3. Run-walking is your friend. Particularly when trying to increase your long-run distance.

4. Never increase your mileage for the week more than 10% over the max weekly mileage you hit in the last two weeks. (Note, I break this rule all the time, but it does make me more sore, slower, etc.)

5. Shoes are paramount. Replace every 300-500 miles or at least every year.

6. If you are consistently building your weekly mileage, every third or fourth week, you should decrease your total mileage by 10-20% to recover before increasing the next week.

Good Luck!